tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC May 30, 2014 1:00am-2:01am PDT
play nice with those interests. drink more weak sauce. karen finney, you can catch her show "disrupt" at 4:00 p.m. weekends on msnbc. josh barro from the "new york times." that is all. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris. thanks, man. and thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. this is one way, famously, that political ads can be really, truly terrible. this is iconic classic of a terrible, almost evil ad. >> you needed that job. and you were the best qualified. but they had to give it to a minority because of a racial quota. is that really fair? harvey gantt says it is. your vote on this issue next tuesday. for racial quotas, harvey gann. against racial quotas, jesse helms. >> the white hands ad. that was an ad conservative republican senator jesse helms ran in his 1990 senate re-election bid against harvey gantt.
and that is very famously one way that political ads can be terrible. that is the classic racist variety of offensive political ad. it's sort of a variant on the same kind of terrible that was this ad against multiple amputee vietnam war veteran senator max cleland. this ad run against him by republican saxby chambliss morphed senator cleland into osama bin laden. yes. sometimes terrible political ads are terrible just because they are offensive. but it's not always offensive. there's a lot of different ways to be a terrible political ad even when you're not being offensive. >> i'm not a witch. i'm nothing you've heard. >> that political ad was terrible not because it was offensive but because actually not all that many people had heard that she might be a witch before she did this amazing ad that started with "i'm not a witch. i'm nothing you've heard."
it's not just conservatives who make terrible political ads, of course. this is a terrible ad made by a liberal group opposed to the paul ryan budget. this one was terrible just because it was sadistic. almost impossible to watch. and it went on and on and on and on with this relentless sort of faceless evil figure pushing an increasingly distraught elderly lady closer and closer to the edge of a cliff while she panics and screams and freaks out and then yes, finally throwing her off the cliff. no matter what you think about the paul ryan budget, that is a terrible, terrible ad. that's a horror movie. in 2008 former democratic u.s. senator from alaska, a man named mike gravel, he ran a honestly mostly sort of adorable campaign for the presidency. he had an interesting career. he'd been involved in releasing the pentagon papers. he'd done some really interesting things as a u.s. senator from alaska back in the day. he would also talk to anybody from any news outlet at any time about anything while he was running. he was kind of great as a candidate.
but he did run a 2:51 ad in which -- this is not a still. this is an ad. more than a minute of the ad was just him staring into the camera as if he might reach through the lens and rip your throat out. just staring. right? nice guy. ambitious campaign. very, very terrible political ad. a lot of terrible political ads seem to involve animals. remember when john mccain's friend carly fiorina ran for senate in california? she did this kind of muppets on meth ad that everybody ended up calling the demon sheep. i think that the -- see? there it is. the demon sheep ad was i think purposely designed to be so weird that people would hopefully talk about it just because it was so strange. that does not excuse how terrible -- ah! the demon sheep ad was. ken cuccinelli, yes, that same cuccinelli, when he was running for re-election in the state
senate in virginia, he ran an ad that at one point featured him cuddling a mute animal statue that he talked to throughout the ad. >> senator ken cuccinelli. ron and i have something to ask you. right, ron? we're going to ask you to help our campaign. please give us a call. we'd really appreciate it. right, ron? >> it just sat there. yeah. animals are often involved, though. i think the best most terrible political ad that i've ever seen involving animals was one that ran in 2008 in florida. there was a conservation measure on the ballot that year, and a group that was in favor of the conservation measure, they ran what was supposed to be a cute ad about how if you vote for this thing you'll be doing right by animals. but i've never seen anything like this. just -- go ahead. watch. ♪ i'm for florida and i'm for for ♪ ♪ for means we have green space more ♪ ♪ stops the asphalt that i abhor ♪ ♪ that's why, that's why i'm for
four ♪ ♪ four, four, four, we're for four ♪ ♪ four, four, four, we're for four ♪ ♪ that's why he's for, he's shore four ♪ >> okay. it's upsetting. the thing that is so disturbing about this is that the bodies of the animals hold perfectly still and it's just their little heads and their dead eyes that flash and twitch like they're stuffed and dead. somebody is just moving their lifeless little animal faces. yeah. that ballot measure did win. in florida in 2008. so maybe even very terrible political ads sometimes work. wow. it's amazing. i've watched that about 30 times today. it makes my stomach hurt when i watch it. it's taxidermy gone wrong. this year of course is a midterm election year. there are surely riches head for this year, for more terribleness in american political advertising. there's always something new and terrible in every election
season. but thus far among major party candidates for major offices and specifically among ads that were not just cut and put up on the web somewhere but were actually aired and broadcast for money, this year so far the texas lieutenant governor david dewhurst, he is the undisputed title holder for the worst ad this year at least. i don't know if you've seen this ad. this is how it starts. normal enough. texas landscape. guitar music. sort of starts really texas normal. everything's going to be fine. but then right away this happens. >> david dewhurst. >> texas lieutenant governor. >> texas lieutenant governor david dewhurst. >> texas lieutenant governor david dewhurst. ♪ david dewhurst ♪ lieutenant gov ♪ you've got to love ♪ saving babies ♪ protecting ladies
♪ you're the most pro life candidate ♪ ♪ religious nation ♪ obama nation ♪ won't come to the good state of texas ♪ >> they actually say "break it down." this ad actually ran on television in texas. disco david dewhurst. the casio keyboard anthem about how anti-abortion he is. ♪ david dewhurst ♪ saving babies wow. the david dewhurst campaign in texas actually dropped that ad. ran it on broadcast television the day before the texas elections this week. it's almost like the campaign knew how badly david dewhurst was going to do in the elections this week. they knew he was going to lose his seat. and they just said you know, we spent this money to make the anti-abortion disco song about him. ♪ saving ladies we paid for the song, we might as well run the freaking ad. they just decided the last day before the election, let's burn the campaign down, let's do disco inferno. amazing.
and the day after they aired the disco david dewhurst ad, david dewhurst did go on to be the first statewide or congressional incumbent anywhere in the country to actually lose his seat. he lost by a mile. he got thrown out of office in a republican primary this year. he was the incumbent. as for right now he is still the king of the worst ad of this year's elections. so maybe that is some comfort. it also probably came as some comfort to him a little later on in texas election night this week when it turned out he was not the only incumbent republican to lose his job in the texas elections this year. the oldest serving member of congress, ralph hall, 91 years old, he also lost his seat in congress to a tea party challenger in the texas elections this week. and ralph hall did not run the world's most terrible political ad in his campaign this year the way david dewhurst did with his disco thing, but ralph hall did run one ad that was 100% unapologetically, totally plagiarized, ripped off from
somebody else. it's kind of amazing more people didn't pick up on this. buzzfeed noted these similarities but a lot of other people sort of ran the ralph hall ad uncritically saying isn't this cute? here's who did it first. this is a guy who ran for dallas mayor seven years ago. he did it first. and when he did it it was pretty good. watch. >> see these wrinkles? that's from nine years on the dallas city council. i got this when i toughened the regulations for the dallas ethics task force. now i'm the only candidate proposing a voter-approved anti-crime district. because dallas needs some tough love. and i've got room for a few more wrinkles. >> that ad already existed. that ad played in texas seven years ago. and that man max wells ran for mayor in dallas. look what ralph hall did this year while trying to hold on to his congressional seat. look. >> you battle nancy pelosi as much as i have, you're bound to get a few wrinkles. see this one? got it taking on the liberals
when they attacked our second amendment rights. these when we fought them on obamacare. i'm ralph hall, and i approve this message because texas values are still worth fighting for. and by gosh, i've got room for a few more wrinkles. >> on its own terms not a terrible ad, agreed. but when it is completely stolen from somebody else, that is a whole new way of being a terrible ad that i have never really seen before. and ralph hall did lose his seat. those texas elections this week, david dewhurst and ralph hall became the first two incumbents to lose in their republican primaries to tea party guys. and that led to exactly the kind of headlines that you would expect this week. headlines like these. the tea party sweeps to victory in texas. the tea party may be having trouble in other races around the country this year but in texas when the tea party runs the tea party wins. that was the national character of the headlines about the texas races this week. and that was definitely the beltway takeaway in terms of what happened in texas this week.
but inside texas the coverage was a little different. inside texas this week the political buzz was about the exception to how well the tea party guys did. there was an exception to that rule this week. there was one really big race in texas this week where there was a tea party guy on the ballot against another republican. but in that one race the tea party guy actually got clobbered. one specific race for one very specific seat in texas. hold that thought. this is footage taken at night outside. it shows a man setting his well on fire in his back yard. this is not an oil well. this is not a gas well or anything else that's supposed to be set on fire. this is the well from which he gets his water. that is a water hose that looks like a flame thrower. water hose on fire. the water is being consumed by flame.
this video was shot in parker county, texas, which is just west of dallas-forth worth in a town called weatherford, texas. and quite clearly there's something wrong with this guy's water. he says if you were brave enough to actually pour that water into a glass instead of setting it on fire in the yard the water coming out of the tap in his house bubbled like it had an alka seltzer in it. anything that the water out of the tap touched it made it slippery and gave it a sheen like it had sort of lubricant in it. and water in that town wasn't always that way. obviously, nobody would build a house there and sink a well for drinking water if the water was always that way. but when the water turned that way, this particular homeowner in weatherford, texas, this particular homeowner from that video with the flaming garden hose, he called for help. specifically, he called in the local fire marshal, which is who i would call in that circumstance. he walked the fire marshal out to his well and said watch this. this is what the fire marshal later explained to the "dallas observer." "water gushed from the well head. a few flicks of a lighter and water and flame poured forth together. the fire marshal shawn scott, a good-natured by levelheaded hulk," according to the dallas observer, ordered the homeowner to snuff out the flame immediately. the homeowner turned, and the growing flames swept the well head, accidentally igniting a second fire. that got us both a little stirred up there because now we
got an uncontrolled flame coming from the top of the water well, the fire marble said. that was the first time i'd ever seen that. when the fire marshal and assistant fire marshal tried to take a reading to see how much gas was coming from that well, "we got within 20 feet of that well and the hydrocarbon detector was going bonkers. full indication," the marshal said. "i couldn't get any closer because you risked burning up the sensors. this is in open air. it's not like we were inside a house. the marshal instead use the a less sensitive monitor he had to gauge the gas concentrations. he says anything above 5% we start getting nervous. it went to 12% or 14% in nothing flat, which is definitely in the explosive range." trying to figure out what had happened to the water supply in that town that made it explosive, the homeowner checked state maps and found out that to his surprise two natural gas wells had been drilled horizontally to "practically beneath his home."
he didn't know those natural gas wells had been drilled underneath his home until his well water started catching fire. testing from independent scientists and from academic scientists at duke university and ultimately the federal epa indicated that yeah, the drilling was what was causing the problem. the methane from those wells were the same methane that were making his water catch fire and get explosive. the epa went so far as to order the company that drilled those wells to provide bottled water to all the homeowners in that area. but when the state of texas came in to look at what was going on there, the part of the texas state government that deals with oil and gas, they investigated and they found that from their perspective there was absolutely no connection between this guy's water catching fire and the drilling happening underneath his house. in 2011 texas looked into it and they closed the case. after more complaints from more homeowners in the area, that part of the texas state government came back and they investigated again. and today we found out what they found. today they closed the case again.
they announced again that there is in their words "insufficient evidence to conclude that oil and gas production activities have caused or contributed to methane contamination beneath that neighborhood." this part of the texas state government that's in charge of investigating these things, that's in charge of regulating oil and gas, they have now closed this case twice. and as they have closed it twice they say they will not investigate this matter any further. their advice to the homeowners who can light their water on fire is that those homeowners should "properly ventilate and aerate their water systems." it's hard to imagine how you can more thoroughly ventilate your back yard, which is where this stuff is at a high enough concentration to catch fire. but the texas state government says that's their advice. make sure you aerate. texas is producing a lot of oil and gas. more than it ever has before. and bully for texas. but turns out it is causing some pretty significant problems for people who live in the state as well. recently on the show you may remember us covering a rash of what appeared to be manmade
earthquakes in texas shaking parts of north texas that have never really had significant earthquakes before but they're now having hundreds of them, including some of pretty good size. basically the whole town of azle, texas decamped to the state capitol in austin on a bus trip to try to convince the texas state government to please do something to stop the earthquakes in their town. but since that would involve interfering with production of oil and gas so far the people of azle have had no joy from the state government. in south texas a lot of the problem is air pollution. when the texas commission on environmental quality got their investigators called out to a home in carnes county, which is south texas, a family there was complaining about toxic smells and weird acrid fumes emanating from the drilling rigs by their hour, the investigators from the state head up. they turned on their monitors. and then the investigators themselves reported that they evacuated the area quickly because they were afraid of their own exposure to what they just realized they were standing in the 34iding of. which this family lived in the
middle of. that brings us back to the one race in texas this week where the tea party guy actually lost. the tea party guy on the ballot was favored. he had the backing of all of these conservative and tea party groups. right to life. take back america. north texas tea party. a whole bunch of other tea party groups. he was the tea party guy. and this is texas. he was a double-digit favorite heading into this race because he was the tea party guy. but the one race in texas where the favored tea party guy lost was this race. and it turns out it was a race for one of the three spots on the part of the texas state government that regulates oil and gas. that same part of the texas state government that told mr. flaming water hose he just needs
to air out his water better, he just needs to make sure he's got enough ventilation in his back yard and they don't see the need to investigate any further. the statewide race to get onto that commission is the one race in texas where the tea party guy lost and the tea party guy lost it turns out because this guy won. a guy from the oil industry, he won instead. here's his list of endorsements. he's a consultant to the oil and energy industry. turns out that's the only thing that can beat tea party. he says, "running a company that has served technically the oil and gas industry, that's what i will bring to the railroad commission." railroad commission doesn't actually regulate railroads in texas. they regulate oil and gas. it's a vestigial name. but an oil and gas guy on the texas railroad commission. on the part of texas state government that regulates oil and gas, that's just what texas needs, right? beating the tea party guy, pulling off that miracle puts the oil and gas guy on the ballot for the general election on that seat in november. he'll be facing off against that rarest of all texas species, a democratic candidate for the statewide office. the democratic candidate's name is steve brown. and steve brown has spent his campaign for that office meeting with the people of north texas, to whom the oil and gas industry has bequeathed hundreds of earthquakes. and meeting with people in south texas to whom the oil and gas industry has bequeathed air that is too dangerous for the inspectors to measure. in the raw headlines of texas politics nobody thinks that steve brown has got a chance.
but at some point when the water hoses are catching fire doesn't even texas start to worry that maybe things have swung a little too far? [ jennifer garner ] why can't powerful sunscreen feel great on your skin? actually it can. neutrogena® ultra sheer. nothing outperforms it. nothing feels cleaner. its helioplex formula provides unbeatable uva uvb protection to help prevent early skin aging and skin cancer. all with the cleanest feel. you won't believe you're wearing such powerful sun protection. it's the best for your skin. ultra sheer®. and for on-the-go, new ultra-sheer face & body stick. from neutrogena®.
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there is late-breaking news tonight on a story we've been following closely. last night we told to you set your news alarm clocks for a big decision that was set to come out of texas tonight. but now that decision has been announced by the office of texas attorney general greg abbott. greg abbott on the right here, he's best known as the republican running for texas governor against democrat wendy davis. but he's currently the attorney general of the state. in the past his office has ruled that texas's open records laws give the public a right to know about how texas is killing prisoners, the drugs that texas is using for its lethal injections. his office has ruled that in the past. but tonight in this breaking news story greg abbott has reversed that stance, reversed those earlier rulings and issued a statement saying that the state can now keep secret the name of the compounding pharmacies that are making drugs for the lethal injection process in texas since real drug manufacturers will no longer sell the state drugs in the normal way. texas for public justice had warned that greg abbott might reverse himself on this issue
after he suddenly started getting really large campaign donations from the compounding pharmacy industry, which of course wants to be kept secret in this process, before he took $350,000 from that industry greg abbott's office had ruled that their involvement couldn't be kept secret. now after he's taken $350,000 from them he apparently has changed his mind. that just happened tonight in texas. we'll keep you posted if we learn more tonight.
okay. back by popular demand from the "a" block, here's the terrifying singing taxidermied toad and his friend the stuffed owl. ♪ election's day's november 4th ♪ ♪ this is one you can't ignore ♪ we want a meadow and not a store ♪ ♪ that's why, that's why we want four ♪ >> yes, yes, leave us alone, we have linked to that at maddowblog.com so you can use it to scare whoever you want. but remember, that ad was successful. the singing, terrifying taxidermied animals, their side won and the big business side lost in that particular election campaign. and sometimes that does actually happen. at an amazing instance of that, sort of, is that. next. da(????
memorial day weekend may be over, but the savings continue all month long! so, if you're looking to buy a car, now is the time and truecar is the way. just go to truecar.com to lock in guaranteed savings without negotiation. thank you! visit truecar.com! the city of new orleans is not an island, but it is basically surrounded by water. downtown new orleans sits right along the banks of the mighty mississippi river. the giant lake pontchartrain hugs the city to the north. over to the east there's not much separating new orleans proper from the vast gulf of mexico. it's basically situated right on
the gulf. but you know, it did not start out that way. for the last century or so new orleans has been moving. this is new orleans today. i mean, take a good look. water basically everywhere. but here's what it looked like in the 1830s. look. all that green you see there is land. it's wetlands in most cases. when new orleans was settled, it was surrounded by wetlands and marshlands, and that's what basically served as a buffer between the city itself and the gulf of mexico. ever since then, though, that buffer has been disappearing. the process is still happening now. here's what that same stretch of land looked like in the mid 1990s. and here's what it's going to look like just a couple of years from now. the city of new orleans quite literally is moving. it is moving closer and closer to the sea. all the time. as all of that fertile wetland just disappears and turns into open water. and there is a direct line between that phenomenon of the last century or so and this. this is august 2005. the city of new orleans essentially being swallowed up
by the flood waters from hurricane katrina. the levies that the city built to protect itself from storm surge were overrun, in part because there was nothing to slow down or stop the storm surge on its way in. all of the wetland that had protected new orleans for centuries, that buffer zone that essentially absorbed the storm surge from hurricanes before it reached the city, those wetlands were gone. and without that first line of defense the levees in new orleans were left to bear the full brunt of the storm surge and that turned out to be a task they could not handle. and the hurricane and flooding that followed killed nearly 2,000 people in an american city. after hurricane katrina the city of new orleans and the state of louisiana started to reckon with the fact that the loss of all that wetland had made coastal louisiana essentially a sitting duck for hurricanes. the year after hurricane katrina louisiana residents took a vote and they decided by huge majorities to rewrite the state's constitution to create independent flood authorities to
try to make sure that something like that never happened again. it was a constitutional amendment. it passed with 81% of the vote. and that flood authority that that vote established, the one on the east side of new orleans, they set about fixing what went wrong, what had gone wrong during hurricane katrina. they went about upgrading the levees in new orleans, yes, but more importantly they set about restoring the buffer zone, restoring and reclaiming all of the wetlands that had been vanishing for decades, which is what has left the city so exposed. and in that effort the new orleans flood authority, they did something that has turned out to be really controversial. last year, last summer they filed a mega lawsuit against nearly 100 oil and gas companies. they sued exxon. they sued bp. they sued chevron. they sued 97 oil and gas and pipeline companies in all. for their role in taking apart the wetlands off the coast of new orleans. for decades oil and gas companies, they dredged up the wetlands for shipping purposes. they built canals through the wetlands.
they built pipelines through the wetlands. and all of that activity contributed to those wetlands dying and essentially melting back into the gulf of mexico. you chop something up enough and it eventually erodes and becomes open water. so that lawsuit filed by the new orleans flood authority said to the oil and gas industry, listen, it's time for you to fix what you've done. john barry, the vice president of the authority, he said at the time, "we are looking to the industry to fix the part of the problem that they created. we're not asking them to fix everything. we only want them to address the part of the problem that they created." and the oil industry in fact did create part of this problem. a study from the u.s. geological survey, which had input from the oil industry, it concluded that oil and gas exploration was responsible for more than a third of coastal land loss across the state. the oil industry itself says that it recognizes its role in causing this problem. but when this lawsuit was filed, the lawsuit that could actually save new orleans, something sort of amazing happened. an outside force attempted to
kill it. but it was not the oil and gas industry. at least not directly. it was the state of louisiana. it was specifically republican governor bobby jindal of louisiana. he came out against it. he demanded that this local authority stop trying to get the oil and gas industry to fix this problem. when the levee board refused to stop doing what they were doing, the governor started trying to remove the local authority board members who disagreed with him. he did ultimately -- the governor ultimately was able to oust the levee board's vice president, john barry. and the governor and his allies decided to pursue legislation in the state capitol that would remove the ability of local authorities like this to file any lawsuits at all on any subject. that bill passed the state senate earlier this month, and then late tonight within the last couple of hours it passed the louisiana house. by a vote of 59-39. leading up to the vote in the house there had been a sort of public outcry to let this new orleans lawsuit against the oil companies go forward.
the "new orleans times picayune" has been writing almost daily editorials urging the legislature to reject this bill. three former louisiana governors have come out and said let the lawsuit go forward. and today support came from probably the most visible person in the entire country in the days following hurricane katrina. lieutenant general russel honoree, who you will remember from that time because he led the military relief effort along the gulf coast after hurricane katrina hit, when the rest of the federal government's efforts failed. today general honore wrote in the "new york times" that what new orleans wanted to do here and what the governor's been trying to stop them from doing them-e says, "it won't assure us that the oil and gas industries will fix the damage they have caused to our coast overt decades but it would give the citizens of louisiana their day in court to stand up and say we've had enough." joining us now tonight for the interview is retired army lieutenant general russel honore. he served as the commander of joint task force katrina coordinating military relief efforts in the wake of hurricane
katrina. he's also a founder of the green army environmental group. general honore, it's a real pleasure to have you with us tonight. thanks for joining us. >> good evening, rachel. >> i imagine you have to be very disappointed in the vote that was taken in the legislature tonight. how did this come to pass? why do you think they were able to pass this? >> well, disappointed is a mild term to use. they were able to pass it because democracy failed the people of louisiana tonight. it showed that the oil and gas flags still fly over our state capitol. meaning that the influence of this industry was able to influence our legislators and basically told them what they wanted them to do, which was to pass a retroactive law. yes, you heard it, rachel. they passed a retroactive law, meaning that this law will go back op a suit that's already been filed that is sitting in the court.
a judge has already preliminarily said this suit is legal inside the statute of the laws of louisiana. they have passed a law that would make that suit illegal. they've passed a retroactive law. >> in terms of the arguments around this, we've heard a lot of industry supporters say you can't do anything to alienate oil and gas companies, oil and gas companies are a huge part of the economy in louisiana, they do a lot of good for the people of louisiana. what's your response to that sort of protectionist attitude toward the industry itself, this retroactive lawsuit is keeping them out of court in terms of the damage they did to the wetlands of the coast? >> well, the oil and gas industry have done a great psychological operation on the people of louisiana by making them believe that they will pick up and leave if this suit were to go forward. this is a function of pollution.
the oil and gas industry have had a free ride in louisiana. they built all those canals in the wetlands, rachel, that polluted the wetlands with saltwater and with oil field runoff that has destroyed that wetlands. they know it. they left the canals open. it allowed the saltwater to come in. it helped deteriorate the wetlands. they've also left 6,000 abandoned oil wells in louisiana, many of them in that wetlands. and they have exposed pipelines because the pipelines are exposed because we've lost the soil and we have rising seas. they know that this extraction industry, this energy industry know that they have created this damage. they did not want this to go to court because in the court it will reveal even more the amount of damage that they've caused in louisiana. and they had the money to buy the vote. look, our legislature, like many others, is full of lawyers. many of those lawyers come to the legislature three months out of the year and pass laws.
most of the laws they pass are to protect and support the oil and gas industry. because that's the industry they work in. >> what happens next here in this fight? obviously, this bill, i'm sure the governor is very eager to sign it, and i'm sure that part of the legislative battle is over at least for now. what happens next here? you're obviously committed to this issue in the long term. >> well, the good news is they will go home in a few days and can do no more harm. but the green army will march on. we'll be standing in front of the ex-conn plant in baton rouge, louisiana, which is the biggest operation here in louisiana, and we'll be reminding the people of the state of louisiana, we want our gas and our tank and our oil in our tank. we don't want it in our bayous. we don't want it in our lakes. and we don't want it destroying our aquifers through this large amount of fracking they're doing here in louisiana. it's polluting our air. it's polluting our water. and it's already helped destroy our coastline. we've got a major problem in
louisiana, and they have gotten a bypass and are not have to live up to the rules of the clean water act and the clean air act because the states have given them exemption to the clean water and clean air act. we've got to put the teeth back in the epa to control these industries because this pollution is going to change the way we live, rachel if we don't do something about it. i didn't spend 37 years in the army to defend this nation to come here and find out this industry has taken over our communities. >> lieutenant retired army lieutenant general russel honore, founder of the green army environmental group fighting industrial pollution along the gulf coast. sir, i hope you'll come back and talk with us again about what your next steps are. it's a real honor to have you here. thank you. thank you. all right. much more ahead tonight. stay with us. [ julie ] the wrinkle cream graveyard.
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president obama was re-elected in november 2012. so then in january 2013 when his first term ended he got sworn in for his second term on that same day. and what's a little awkward about the timing for presidents who win a second term is that in late january, early february they go through the pomp and circumstance of starting a second term and doing their second inaugural address, and that's important because it needs to encompass what the country has been through in the president's first term. also the reasons why the president was just re-elected by
the country for four more years. and it also has to include the vision that the president has for the next four years given the nation's current challenges. and then right away as soon as that inaugural speech is done they have to do their state of the union speech, which is also a huge deal, and for which everyone has basically the same expectations it that they had for the inaugural address that they just had to give a few days ago. the second speech is only a few days after that other huge speech, but of course it has to be a totally different thing. it's very awkward timing for every re-elected president. and in 2013 when president obama gave his state of the union right on the heels of his second inaugural, he decided that he would hit some of the same issues in both speeches. in the inaugural, for example, he said this. he said, "we know that america thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work. when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship." then in the state of the union address a few days later the president made the same point but he made it with way more specificity.
he said in that second speech, "tonight let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty. let's raise the federal minimum wage. we should be able to get that done." president obama proposed raising the minimum wage right after he was re-elected in his inaugural and then again in his first second-term state of the union, and then he went back to it again at the next year's state of the union saying that raising that minimum wage is something that should happen federally, it should happen nationwide. and of course the republicans who control the house of representatives, they obviously have no interest whatsoever in raising the minimum wage. but since president obama front-burnered the issue the way that he has, the minimum wage has been raised in a bunch of states, states like connecticut and hawaii and maryland and minnesota. even if republicans won't let it get anywhere at the federal level it has been democratic legislators in blue states who've been raising the minimum wage where they can. until now. this week an exception to that
rule was born. when for the first time a state with a republican governor and a republican legislature, they too voted that they too would raise the minimum wage. wait. republicans in michigan bucking the tide. it's only been blue states and democrats who wanted to raise the minimum wage before now. but michigan republicans just did it. and apparently, it didn't give them much trouble. look. "it passed both the house and the senate and was signed into law by governor rick snyder in less than one hour." well, republicans racing to raise the minimum wage, rushing to do it, eager to do is it. is this backwards day? is fried cheese no longer frightening? are trout now using worms to catch me? no. turns out it was one big trick play. they rushed this thing through in michigan two nights ago, and they passed it in under an hour because the very next day michigan activists were due to turn in over 300,000 signatures to put on the ballot in november a much larger increase in the
minimum wage. okay. that's why republicans did it. see, polling shows that that -- that can drive up voter turnout and those voters tend to lean democratic. by getting this issue on the ballot these campaigners were all but assured the policy would pass and become law in the state because it's really popular. but b, as a side benefit, democratic candidates running in that election say the democrat running for u.s. senate in michigan or the democrat running against rick snyder in michigan those democrats would probably benefit as well from being on the ballot alongside that very popular minimum wage rise, which would probably drive up democratic voter turnout. and so, the republicans in michigan knowing these signatures were coming in yesterday, knowing the thing was going to qualify for the ballot and that was going to be
terrible for them, the republicans in michigan figured out their trick play. and it was basically a pre-emptive strike. by passing their own new lower minimum wage legislation this week, republicans pre-empted the ballot measure. look, the main objective of republicans in the legislature was to keep the $10.10 wage measure off the november ballot and kill the petition drive. that measure could have brought to the polls democrats who support the wage measure in large numbers. so yes, michigan republicans did pass a rise in the minimum wage this week and they are the only republican-controlled state anywhere in the country to do that. but they only did it to stop a larger and more popular increase that was going to clobber them at the polls in november. that's why they, quick, came up with the trick play to try to stop it. ta-da. michigan, you're amazing.
okay. there is one part of our government that congress force feeds. there is one part of the u.s. government when they fight with congress it's because congress wants to force them to take more money than they actually want. to run more programs than they want to run. to pay their workers more than they want to pay them. to, to buy stuff. to buy big expensive stuff that this part of our government not only hasn't asked for but they actively do not want. there is one part of our government that wants to stay the same size for get smaller. but congress consistently makes them keep getting bigger and bigger and makes them take more money than they want. that part of government, of course is the united states military. the pentagon has asked congress to pay for a 1% pay raise for service members. congress is insisting on a 1.8% pay raise. the military wants to close guantanamo, decommission one of its aircraft carriers. congress is insisting they keep them going.
there are specific ships, aircraft that the military says it no longer wants to use. they say it is detracting from military readiness to have to keep training service members and maintenance crews on using the things since it no longer wants to use them. congress don't care. must be nice, right? to be not only fully funded all the time but to have an embarrassment of riches that you don't know what to do with. that's true of the military and only of the military. you would think that veterans too, would have the same problem that the military does. right? that members of congress would be showering veterans issues with funding given the way members of congress are showboating right now about how much they care about veterans. and how outraged they are about veterans having long waits to get health care. veterans are waiting too long for health care. but when given the chance to vote for an expansion in the care that veterans are wait too long for. congress has not treated veterans the way they treat the defense department. veterans are treated more like food stamps or education or any other kind of funding that
republicans won't pass in the house and that they will filibuster in the senate because they don't want to pay for it. look, senate republicans block veterans' health bill on budget worry. this bill called for 27 new medical facilities to help a health care system, strained by veterans of the iraq, afghanistan wars. republicans raised budget concerns, forcing a key procedural vote that end up killing the bill. >> there are problems with the bill. an extensive piece of legislation. it has many good elements. and a cost issue. at a time when our nation, owes close to $18 trillion the why so many on my side of the aisle objected to it. that's why i would object to the motion made here today by the senator from vermont. >> i think the decision we have got here as we debate this legislation is whether we are going to -- commit to a promise -- promise that is bigger than what our kids can fulfill.
that costs more than our kids can afford. >> i understand where senator bird is coming from. we want to, one, pay for whatever we do. we are $17 trillion in debt. >> despite being terribly in debt, we can afford anything when it comes to creating veterans, sending them to war, funding the military. but when soldiers come home hurt from the wars, oh, that's where it is too expensive. costs too much to fund va health care. can't possibly spend the money to alleviate the strain on the system with vets needing taking care of we won't fund it. have you looked at the debt? republicans filibustered bernie sanders bill that would have expanded veterans' access to health care. two republican senators voted in february for funding veterans february care. dean heller and jerry moran. voted no in february. as they scream bloody murder now how there isn't enough health care for vets. but as the va wait time scandal
continues to unfold, as republicans increasingly try to turn it to partisan purposes to use it as an election issue, the 41 republican senators who all voted against veterans health care a few weeks ago, they're about to got a chance to get their money and mouths more closely aligned than they are right now. bah the senator who introduced the veterans bill that the republicans filibustered in february, senator sanders, he says he is going to bring the veterans health bill back up again next week. so, all 41 republican senators who voted to filibuster veterans health care before, oh, too expensive. they're about to now have another chance to decide if the treatment of veterans is something they actually want to fix or if instead it is something that they don't want to fix. they want to complain and showboat. and hope their own votes on the subject don't damn them with the blame. the bill drops in the senate next week. if we believe our own passion that rhetoric that doing right by veterans is a moral imperative, and a clarion responsibility, then that vote
is going to be the kind of vote that people will not only remember, it will be the kind of vote that follows senators around for the rest of their careers. and if there is any justice in the world, through the rest of their lives. watch this space. the rest of t. "first look" is up next. good friday morning. right now on "first look," billion-dollar deal. the l.a. clippers might have a new owner in a microsoft billionaire, but donald sterling says not so fast. could shinseki last? but if he goes is there somebody who can clean up the scandal. space commuter. the new generation spacecraft can go to space and return with the accuracy of a helicopters. plus huge reaction to the nbc exclusive with edward snowden. the thrill of victory on and off the ice. and rescued from the brink. it's friday, may 30th. early today, ratherrs